JULY IS THE MONTH DEDICATED TO THE MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD OF JESUS
“Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord, in Thy blood, out of every tribe and tongue, and people and nation, and hast made us to our God a kingdom.” (Apoc. 5:9)
There is no class of souls who feverishly burn with desire for the Precious Blood to be offered for them as the holy souls in Purgatory. Their prayer life is a one-way street: they may only pray for others but they may not offer the Precious Blood for themselves as we may.
The holy souls’ thirst for the Precious Blood exceeds any understanding we have of thirst. This was brought home to me when I read of a holy soul who was direly disappointed with Blessed Henry Suso for breaking his word that he would offer Holy Masses for him.
Blessed Henry Suso was a German Dominican of the 1300s, and once he made a pact with his friend, a fellow Dominican that the one who outlived the other would offer Holy Mass in honor of Jesus’s sorrowful Passion every Friday and offer Holy Mass for the dead friend every Monday for 52 weeks straight.
Henry’s friend died first. But Henry failed in his promise. He did not offer the Masses, but instead he was lulled into complacency that he had afforded his friend sufficient relief by way of his prayers and good deeds.
His dead friend came in an apparition to Henry and in sharp tones he took him to task for not offering the Holy Masses for his relief and release from Purgatory. Henry tried to defend himself and pointed out all the prayers he had offered, but the holy soul was not placated and instructed Henry, “But the sacred Blood of Jesus is wanting. Where are the Masses that afford us so much relief?”
Henry’s dead friend became ever more hysterical in his pain and cried out, “Blood, Blood, brother, is needed that we may obtain relief! Masses, Masses should be said as we have promised one another!”
Henry was shaken, and he offered the Masses without delay. He was rewarded with the joyful sight of his friend leaving Purgatory and entering Heaven.
Henry had been thoughtless in failing his friend. But he did not omit to offer the Masses out of laziness or because he was afraid of the self-sacrifice involved. After all, Henry was given to extreme self-mortification, he is best remembered for taking a pointed rod and etching the Holy Name of Jesus onto his chest in letters of blood. Rather Henry was an accidental mystic and unaware as to the rigors of God in purifying souls of sins to the extent that the holy souls are purged so much that in the words of Henry’s dead friend, “Blood, Blood, brother, is needed that we may obtain relief!”
So very many of us are like Blessed Henry. We fall into an easy falsehood that our prayers for the holy souls are enough, when they have dire need of Masses to be offered where the wine in the chalice becomes the Precious Blood that eases their excruciating burns. As Jesus offered Himself on the Cross to pay for our sins, so too, does a priest offer the Sacrifice of the Mass for the holy souls that their sins may be blotted out by the Blood of Jesus and thus their searing punishment is mitigated.